Using Collaboration for Personal Development

(estimated time to read: less than 4 minutes)

Let’s play fill-in the blank:  “_______________ makes everything better.”  

Many people have a “thing” that makes everything better.  For my daughter – her cat Milo makes everything better; for most, bacon makes everything better if you believe the hype; parents want their children to believe kisses make everything better.  

For me, collaborations make everything better.  

Collaborating at Work

In the workplace – collaborations can bring together individuals with a variety of talents and resources that any one person cannot possibly have on their own.   Collaborations stimulate insights and creative energy to foster new solutions.  These partnerships can drive energy and engagement as people brainstorm and problem solve together.  Collaboration fosters accountability– when people collaborate together – they don’t want to be identified as the weak link or laggard of the group.

And – collaboration provides a structured community for networking and interacting with people you may not have had exposure to in any other circumstance.  This can facilitate learning of new skills and opportunities to explore new professional roles and functions.   

Collaborating for Personal Development

Collaborating for personal development may at first seem a bit counter-intuitive.  In my practice, I find the benefits derived from collaborations in the business world are wholly applicable to coaching and exploration of opportunities for personal change.  

establish a collaborative mind-set in every coaching engagement whether it is a one-on-one relationship or a group.   Clients have the power and self-knowledge to find approaches to achieve the goals we are working toward.  Collaborating with me simply enables them to start to consider things in a new way and provide a framework to effectively progress forward.  Working together enhances engagement, builds-in accountability and provides a fan club for confidence building and support.   

Collaboration for Personal Development

Consider these tips to get started: 

Create a clear problem or opportunity statement.  This is what you want collaborative support addressing.  Ideally, this question does not end with a closed-ended answer (such as a simple yes or no).  For example: “How can I re-introduce a passion I had as a teenager back into my life?” OR “How can I make my morning routine easier?” OR “What should I do to make my job search more effective?”

Find a collaboration partner or team.  It only takes one other person to make a collaboration while a group can bring more diverse points of view.  Tap collaborators who you trust, respect, you find insightful and will provide perspectives that are different than your own.  They should be willing to speak truths and will reliably support you and keep you accountable if needed.

Start simple and build from there.  Start with one get-together.  It can even be 15 minutes of focused conversation over coffee or dinner with a group of friends.  But – be sure to be clear about your agenda and your problem/opportunity statement before you meet.  And – be disciplined about tackling that problem statement when you meet.  After the first meeting – you and your collaborator(s) may want to continue into future discussions.  Perhaps the next time you meet, you can focus on someone else’s personal development goal.

 Show-up with a collaborative mindset.  Be open to new ideas and solutions.  As suggestions are offered, ask more questions to bring better definition to the idea.  Brainstorm and build-off each-other, DON’T shoot down ideas with a “yeah, but” response – instead use “yes, and” as the default.

Make it actionable.  At the end of your collaborative discussion – identify a next step or two that you can take to progress the best idea or ideas forward.

Try it out: Find a collaboration partner and spend 15 minutes together brainstorming new ideas to address a personal challenge you are experiencing.

Let me know how it worked or if you have any questions.  If you are interested in exploring a coaching partnership with me – get in touch.  I’d be very happy to collaboratively consider it with you!

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